Category Archives: History

What Happened To Celebrating George Washington’s Birthday?

The United States Used To Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday

Now It Is Ignored

How We Stopped Honoring One Of The Greatest Americans

The Life of George Washington Harper’s Weekly February 27, 1864

Growing up in the seventies, we didn’t get a “winter break” at school in mid-February for a full week. School in February was closed on two days: February 12 for celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and February 22 for George Washington’s Birthday. That is if one of the days didn’t fall on a weekend!

Grammar school teachers made a big deal out of our two great presidents. We learned all about Washington and Lincoln leading up to the holidays. Washington secured our liberty and Lincoln preserved it. The two were somewhat distant historical figures, yet their importance was still to be held in some amount of reverence.

From the time he came to prominence during the Revolution, George Washington, The Father of our Country was practically worshiped by its citizens. This was true for nearly two hundred years, Washington was thought of and remembered as a great American. He was honored with place namings and later his own holiday.

That is until the late twentieth century when George Washington’s Birthday became the victim of bureaucrats.

How Washington’s Birthday Became A Holiday

George Washington’s Final Birthday 1799 Harper’s Weekly Feb. 25, 1899

George Washington’s Birthday was the first federal holiday to single out an individual’s birth date. Continue reading

Paul Cornoyer, Painter of New York- Washington Square Park, Winter 1908

Winter Snow Scene At Washington Square Painted By Paul Cornoyer

& A Brief History Of The Life Of The Artist

Impressionist and tonalist, Paul Cornoyer (August 15, 1864 – June 17, 1923) depicts Washington Square Park after a snowstorm circa 1908. Cornoyer’s strength lies in his ability to celebrate wet days. Many of his paintings feature rain or snow and its aftereffects. Cornoyer was a master at evoking a gloomy mood with interesting lighting effects bringing about an emotional response from the viewer. Continue reading

The Average New Car Cost $814 & Other Fascinating Factoids From 1924

In 1924, 3,650,000 Cars Were Produced In The USA Costing An Average of $814

10 Factoids From The New York Merchants’ Association

A typical fact filled issue of the Greater New York Bulletin of the Merchants’ Association of New York The February 16, 1925

The defunct weekly trade magazine Greater New York – Bulletin of the New York Merchants’ Association contains news and articles related to business affairs. The Bulletin did not just limit themselves to New York related items, but highlighted national and international stories.

Paging through the 1925 issues of the magazine, I found beneath the feature articles some very interesting two and three line factoids concerning statistics from previous years.

Here are 10 of these factoids with headlines reprinted verbatim, with my comments below them in blue.

1- Use of Telephones
The City of New York contains more telephones than all of South America, Africa and Oceania combined. Within this area lie the great English speaking commonwealths of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the rapidly growing republics of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. There, too, lie great cities, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Capetown, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.

Verizon abandoned their copper lines in New York City a few years ago. How many years before there are no landline telephones, just cellular phones?

2- Nine Big Incomes
Only nine persons reported net incomes of $3,000,000 or greater for 1922, and four of these reported that their net incomes were greater than $5,000,000. Two of these in the 5,000,000 class lived in Michigan, one in New York and one in New Jersey.

Hmmm. Michigan? Calling Mr. Henry Ford? By contrast according to the IRS, in 2012, the top 400 earners in the USA reported average income of $335.7 million. Continue reading

A New York City Snowstorm In 2021 & 1857

Big Snowstorm. Big Deal. New York City – Then and Now 1857 & 2021

New Yorkers making their way along Centre Street during a huge snowstorm. The building is the Tombs prison.¬† February 1857 Ballou’s Pictorial Magazine 2-21-1857

“Congealed rain, frozen particles, precipitated from the clouds, and preserved by the coldness of the atmosphere in a frozen state until they reach the earth.” Continue reading

The Last Daughter of The American Revolution Died 160 Years After The End Of The Revolution

The D.A.R.’s Last “Real Daughter” Died in 1943, 160 Years After The Conclusion of the American Revolution

You may think that the Daughters of the American Revolution is a moribund organization that no one cares about anymore.

If that is the popular perception, then of course we at Stuff Nobody Cares About would care.

Louisa Capron Thiers as a young woman  photo: Daughters of the American Revolution

I had given the Daughters of the American Revolution as much thought as the nocturnal habits of the ocelot. That is until I ran across a 1925 article about Mrs. Louisa Capron Thiers who was celebrating her 111th birthday. Continue reading

The Big Department Store In New York In 1898 – Siegel-Cooper

Some Facts About Siegel Cooper – The Big Store 1898

Siegel Cooper Dpartment store postcard 18th Street 6th Avenue New York CitySiegel-Cooper Department Store has been gone for over 100 years. But in 1898, Henry Siegel and Frank H. Cooper’s emporium was the Amazon of its day.

In the 1890s Siegel and Cooper successfully operated a department store in Chicago before setting their sights on an expansion in New York.

What Siegel, the driving force of the concern, conceived in New York was not just a department store, it was the “Big Store.” The Siegel-Cooper Department Store was built on Sixth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets. It was a great location, then being New York’s primary shopping district known as the “Ladies Mile.” Within a half mile stretch of Sixth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets could be found the giants of retailing including Macy’s; Altman’s; Hugh O’Neill’s; Adam’s Dry Goods;, Ehrich Brothers; and Simpson, Crawford & Simpson.

The Siegel-Cooper Big Store building opened on September 12, 1896 and was an instant smash with the public.

Siegel-Cooper provided the nineteenth century shopper with a incredible array of goods, from abdominal bands to zephyrs and everything in between. Perhaps the most unusual article available for sale was “Baby”, a live, baby female elephant. Baby was sold within two weeks of the store’s opening for $2,000.

Among the store’s innovations was a nursery with trained nurses Continue reading

This Board Game Will Probably Never Outsell Monopoly

What I Didn’t Get For Christmas

Expulsion The Board Game

Expulsion Board Game Get The Jews Out Of SpainThough it was only five dollars I somehow avoided buying “Expulsion” at the local thrift store for myself or as a gift. As the cover for Expulsion proclaims the game recreates Jewish Life in Spain from the Golden Age to 1492. It promised to be “an exciting and challenging game to play for the whole family.”

Then comes the big plus which was hard to resist. No previous background necessary to play. So you don’t need to be a Jew, an Islamic extremist, KKK member or Nazi to learn and enjoy Expulsion.

While wondering about the game, I couldn’t help thinking of the Mel Brooks film The History of the World Part 1, where Brooks does an over the top Busby Berkeley style homage to the Spanish Inquisition.

Is the object of Expulsion to get the Jews out of Spain?

According to Gabriella Geselowitz Continue reading

Eddie Robinson The Oldest Living Baseball Player Is 100-Years-Old Today

Eddie Robinson, Four Time All-Star & The Oldest Living Major League Baseball Player Is 100 Today

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Eddie Robinson, a big six foot two lefty first baseman who played for seven teams in a 13 year major league career, turns 100 December 15, 2020.

Born in Paris, TX, Eddie Robinson is among the few players still alive who played alongside and saw firsthand many of the great players of the twentieth century.

Robinson was in the big leagues from 1942 – 1957, missing three prime seasons to serve in the military during World War II. His career numbers are 172 home runs, 723 RBI’s and a .268 batting average.

The Indians

Playing in the World Series could bring a player a financial bonanza, sometimes nearly as much as a regular season salary, When Robinson was traded after the season from the 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians to the perennially terrible Washington Senators, he was surprisingly relieved and happy. Continue reading

The 1910 Vanishing Of Dorothy Arnold – Part 2

After Dorothy Arnold Vanished In New York City

The Mysteries of The Paramour, The Manuscripts & Her Family’s Strange Behavior

The Theories On Her Disappearance

Today we conclude the story of one of New York City’s greatest unsolved missing person cases. At the end of part one of the story, on December 12, 1910, Dorothy Arnold said goodbye to Gladys King, an acquaintance she had bumped into on Fifth Avenue. Gladys was the last person to see Dorothy Arnold alive.

From They Never Came Back by Allen Churchill (Crime Club, 1960) is part two of The Girl Who Never Came Back.

Dorothy Arnold St Louis Post Dispatch Jan 29 1911Return now to the Arnold home. Never had the well-brought-up Dorothy skipped a meal without warning the family ahead of time. Now when she failed to return for dinner an increasingly worried group ate without her, then began making discreet phone calls to Dorothy’s close friends asking if the girl had dropped in on them. Told she had not, the Arnolds begged that no mention ever be made of the phone call. Later they asked the same girls not to discuss the case with reporters, and it is indicative of the vast difference between society girls then and now that none of the girls ever did. Continue reading

The Vanishing Of Dorothy Arnold. One Of New York’s All-Time Great Mysteries – Part 1

110 Years Ago Today, Wealthy Dorothy Arnold Went For A Walk In Midtown New York & Vanished Forever

Murder? Suicide? Kidnapping? Or Run Away & Start A New Life?

The Strange Disappearance of A Young Woman Who Seemingly Had Everything….Including A Secret Life

Part One

In the annals of missing person cases few are as baffling as Dorothy Arnold.

Time has erased the Dorothy Arnold case from the public’s memory. But for decades, Dorothy Arnold’s disappearance ranked among the most speculated of mysteries in New York’s history.

Dorothy Arnold disappeared on December 12, 1910 after leaving her house to go for a walk and do some shopping in midtown Manhattan. To make finding her whereabouts more complicated a report that she was missing was not filed with police until weeks after her disappearance. Continue reading